It maybe worth stating that the Isle of Anglesey Coast Path (2006) has been around longer than the Wales Coast Path (2012). There seem to be constant improvements, so we abandoned the guidebooks and downloaded the information from the www.anglesey.gov.uk website, which seems to be regularly updated. The angles of the Anglesey signage sometimes seem to be strange, but that maybe just down to our interpretation.
This walk saw us back at the car park in Penrhos Coastal Park, we popped into the Toll House Cafe to tell the owners that we had survived the walk to Rhoscolyn – the owner had helped us out with a lift during a previous walk.
Across the Stanley Embankment we go again. Designed by Thomas Telford in an effort to improve links between Dublin, Holyhead and London, it links the Isle of Anglesey with Holy island.
We turn down the path by the garage, we shadow Gorad Beach (the tide was out) before turning inland up the Afon Alaw estuary. There is a fancy new bridge crossing the river before you reach Llanfachraeth. The weather turned nasty, with a squally showers, obliterating any views across to Holyhead.
By the time we had walked across the sands at Traeth y Gribin the weather had cleared.
At Penrhyn Bay the path goes through the caravan park, but it is possible to walk across the beach and take a through way just where the park ends. There is a shop and cafe on the site though, so you may want refreshments, as there is very little opportunity further up the coast.
Another sandy bay at Porth Tywyn Mawr, and apart from some muddy fields the path continues smoothly to join a road then off the road again towards Trwyn Gwter-fudr (Dirty gutter nose), Cable bay and then Porth Swtan (Whiting Port) more commonly called Church Bay, with its cafe and Lobster Pot restaurant.
A pleasant starting point to our walk, we looked out for red squirrels at the feeding boxes in the park, shortly to be followed by a peak at the Pet Cemetary, not to be confused with anything created by Stephen King. The walk is easy going at this stage, passing the ruins of a naval battery dating from the Nepoleonic wars, along the shoreline, until we turn towards the urban sprawl of Holyhead.
We stop and watch a training rescue exercise out to sea. We look up at the Skinners Monument, but are not tempted to climb up for a closer look. We have a long day ahead!
The path signs through Holyhead are a bit scarce, out comes the guidebook, which points us in the direction of the station, across the Millennium Bridge or the Celtic Gateway Bridge towards the town centre and St Cybi’s church. Holyhead in Welsh is Caer Gybi. The fortress walls surrounding the church date from Roman times, and the original church was built in 520 AD. My attention strayed to the gravestones, with so many recorded young deaths – the tragedy some families seem to have suffered.
We walk along the shoreline, and stopped to chat to a very knowledgeable old chap on his bike. He told us of the terrible damage done by Storm Emma in March 2018. Indeed , we could still see some traces of boats in the harbour and as we walked onwards passing the Soldiers’ Point House. Reaching the foreshore, where the boats damaged from the storm, have been bought ashore. Millions of pounds worth of damage.
The path tends to get a bit tricky as we head uphill, towards the quarry face. Top marks though to Anglesey Coast Path for the work done on the path surface and the coded numbers on benches etc in the event of an emergency, there is a clear location marker. From here we scramble up the path towards the North stack fog warning stations. Great views back towards the Holyhead breakwater, the largest in the UK, stretching out like a giant serpent into the sea.
A number of rocky paths present themselves. We don’t go up to the summit of Holy Mountain, but there is a feel of a pilgrimage route to this section, hard rock, through tumbling heather. It can’t have changed much through the centuries.
The final stretch is a very pleasant walk zig zagging our way towards the South Stack Lighthouse, iconic and familiar from a number of tourist publications and images. A further stroll to the RSPB car park.
A varied and satisfying section in early spring sunshine. Perfect!
When someone joins you for a walk,it is not a good thing to say “well it was a lovely day yesterday!” We are joined by Louise on a misty, grey day on Anglesey.
South stack lighthouse stands out in the mist, we park at the RSPB site and head down to Elin’s Tower, a folly built in 1868. Louise goes and investigates the cliff drop and is surprised by a birdwatcher who has already identified 15 different species that morning.
I do a slight detour to the Ty Mawr Iron Age hut circles. The wonderfully named Abraham’s Bosom Bay comes next. We spot some colourful kayaks out to sea , and meet up with them again at Porth Dafarch, a very pleasant sandy cove with benches and toilets. Great place to have a picnic.
A pretty straightforward walk to Trearddur Bay, the weather is increasingly grey, and we stop off at our apartment before completing the walk.
Across the busy beach at Trearddur, up towards the rocky shore, it becomes quite bleak and wet underfoot.
We stop to take in the natural arches of Beach Gwyn and Beach Du.
We ponder at the site of St Gwenfaen’s Well, the waters were meant to cure mental problems.
Stopping to chat to a young climber who was buddied up with a friend dangling down the cliff side, we quickly traversed the moor land to Rhoscolyn, but it was so misty we could barely see a trace of the offshore islands.
I became quite excited seeing a cromlech in the field by the car park only to find out it was yet another folly!grrr.
A satisfying drink at the White Eagle Inn, said to be a favourite of Prince William during his time on Anglesey and dinner at the Shanty Cafe in Trearddur Bay provided a very satisfactory end to a grey day
Rhosneigr to Rhoscolyn with a side trip from Four-mile Bridge to Stanley Embankment positioning ourselves for the next stage.
The walk is clearly signposted from the centre of Rhosneigr and off the main road heading over a bridge at Afon Crigyll.
It is a bright, sunny day. All is well with the world. We drop down to the beach at Traeth Cymyran. The path itself runs at a higher level, but the tide was out and we opted for the sand.
RAF Valley is based here and you are left in no doubt by the numerous signs that you should keep moving and keep out.
Before turning off a sizeable track through a farmer’s field, we stopped to take in water and snacks. Louise was surprised by a pony sneaking up on her to steal her crisps. None of us had heard that horse coming! We laughed, until we saw the churned up mud at the gate. My boots were soon smelling of mulched manure.
Lucy turned to find another gateway!
We had already harmonised on an impromptu version of “What a different a day makes”, now Lucy and Louise started on the Sound of Music with actions which had me in stitches!
We follow the estuary up to Penrhyn-Hwlad, lying on the grass and picnicking, the sun on our faces. A nice feeling following such a long winter.
At Four mile Bridge (so called, as it is four miles to Holyhead), we took the turning to the right off the bridge, as it was the only signpost direction and found ourselves unintentionally out on the Stanley Embankment at Valley.
Tiring, we walked across the Embankment to the car park and convenient cafe at Penrhos Park.
We were still debating where best to ask a taxi to take us, when the cafe owner, said her husband would drop us off, whenever we were ready to go.
So after a latte and a long break, we bundled into the very clean car in our muddy boots. Confusing him even further we decided to resume our walk to Rhoscolyn from Fourmile Bridge.
He told Lucy, it was madness ,when she tried to pay him.
Once more on the path, we were startled by the sounds of a car horn. Our friend had returned to check we had the right directions and a map. I think felt a sense of responsibility, particularly as we had dithered so much about our final destination.
The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me.
The rest of the walk to Rhoscolyn was uneventful, and we returned by car to our starting point at Rhosneigr for fish and chips at sunset
Starting point by the clock tower in Rhosneigr, a small bridge crosses the river and the path heads diagonally through the dunes behind the Oystercatcher restaurant.
Make your way passing Traeth Llydan towards Barclodiad y Gawres, which can be seen ahead on Mynydd Mawr. This is a prehistoric tomb, dated 2,500BC with carved stones. Restored the tomb is locked but guided tours can be arranged.
Rounding the bend we come upon Porth Trecastell. The surfers are in the water, and the volunteer litter pickers are on the beach. Louise drops in for a chat. Lucy and I continue on, knowing that she will soon catch us up.
At this stage, we are aware of the irritating whine of car engines as they race around the Anglesey circuit. It disturbs the tranquility of the day. To each his/her own I guess!
We make our way across a field to clear the circuit before once again dropping down to the shore at Porth Cwyfan. The Lleyn coastline,a deep blue can be clearly seen across the bay.
Another special place, St Cwyfan’s Church in the Sea, a medieval church dating from the 12th century, dedicated to St Kevin.
We stop for lunch, we have had our wet weather gear on based on the weather forecast, we are steaming in our own personal sauna suits. We feel a few drops of rain, but not even enough to dampen our sandwiches.
Moving on we stop to watch the oystercatchers with their bright orange beaks, before following the Afon Ffraw up to Aberffraw. Here was the medieval capital of Wales, the court of Llywelyn the Great. Edward 1 removed the stones from the court to build Beaumaris castle, then built the village over any remaining trace.
The best view of the day was across the estuary to Aberffraw beach with Lleyn coastline in the background.
With the long drive home in mind we crossed over the old bridge and make up time we made our way along the high tide route to Hermon.
Crossing over from the Isle of Anglesey onto the mainland the heavens opened, and a rainbow smiled down, but mainly it rained for the four hour drive towards home!
Early morning sunshine and late afternoon gloom. We started this walk from a bend in the road at Hermon, taking a small side road down to the shoreline. Some wonderful houses along this stretch. Very envious of the view across the estuary – we even passed through the end of one of the Gardens. Quickly reaching Malltraeth and the marshes, we cross Afon Cefni, and head towards Newborough Forest, the largest public forest in Wales. A very popular area with the most walkers we have seen so far on any stage of the Wales Coast Path.
We are on the lookout for red squirrels, but not one did we see!
We abandoned the path and headed for the isolation of Penrhos beach, A vast expanse of golden sand, just ourselves, one man and a dog.
This time we had checked the tide tables and were able to walk directly across to Llanddwyn Island, this is such a special place. The church and well dedicated to St Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers.
Onwards to Llanddwyn Beach, before reaching the car park and skirting the edge of the forest.
There are myriads of paths through the forest, and after I had a brief rant about signage, we didn’t access the main road at Pen Lon but detoured to Llys Rhosyr, the historical ruins linked to the Princes of Wales. Later rejoining the path at Penlon, passing a pig farm before turning right down a track leading to the stepping stones across the river Braint.
Two of the stones have moved, and are now virtually triangular so it was easier to take the shoes off and drop into the freezing cold water, than risk tumbling with camera and mobile phone into the water.
Some very muddy fields were to follow before reaching the spot at Dwyran which we had previously walked. Gratefully we made our way to the main road. The ice cold water of the river Braint had sorted out my aching feet…
A beautiful Spring day, we access the path from the main road at Dwyran, following the yellow and green sign near a house called Llwyn Helyg. We are a bit nervous as the last time we followed a yellow and green sign rather than the Wales Coast Path signs we ended up in the bogs of mid Wales – to this day known as Bog-gate!
We refer to our guide book instructions constantly until we see the first of the WPC signs. We are finding that the Anglesey Coast Path is well signposted, which gives us confidence, to abandon the guide book and follow the signs.
Following field, farm tracks and road, passing the Anglesey Riding Centre where the horses are munching contentedly on their hay. We are surprised at the clear view directly across to Caernarfon Castle.
Eventually join the road just past the former Mermaid Inn, just beyond the Tan y Foel ferry ran across the straits to Caernarfon taking passengers to market and workers across the Straits, only closing in 1952. Near this spot the Romans invaded Anglesey in 61AD and massacred the Druids.
The road passes the entrance to Anglesey Sea Zoo and Anglesey Sea Salt. It was too early into the walk to stop, a decision we later regretted as we could have stopped for a coffee, as there are very few refreshment opportunities along the way.
We chanced upon two local ladies as we approached Llandinan House, who informed us that the tide was out so we could walk along the shore line on the low tide route.
We ran into these ladies again when we detoured off the main route to the hamlet of Moel y Don. They were very interested in our long distance walk. One of the ladies was looking for a retirement challenge.
We stopped for a while here, taking in the views across to Felinheli. I spent a bit of time photographing a duck sitting on her nest, under the watchful eye of her partner. Hard to believe that in 1282 the bloody battle of Moel y Don took place here. 2000 infantrymen and 200 cavalry was sent by Edward 1 to control Anglesey and cut off food supplies.
We returned to the path, passing St.Edwen’s Church, heading straight on across the crossroad on the A4080 towards Bryn Celli Ddu a reconstructed burial chamber dating from the Neolithic age. Only a slight verging from the path. Some calves were drinking from the stream, we paused by a wooden footbridge with a plethora of sign to study the guidebook. To find that we needed to head up the next two fields, but were a bit flummoxed by an electric fence stretching across. It wasn’t switched on and we eventually found a gap where we could step through, leading to a farm track.
The next stage follows much of the main road, but behind a small hedgerow, with duckboards in part.
At low tide take the permissive path down to the shore line, this is a lovely stretch passing the statue of Lord Nelson, in the shadow of Britannia Bridge, then through the church yard of St Mary’s Church, which gave Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch it’s name.
For dinner it was a toss up between the Liverpool Arms or Dylan’s
We are on the Isle of Anglesey at last. Some 131 miles to go before completing the Wales Coast Path.
We have decided that we want to complete the Wales Coast Path, so a short walk to Menai Bridge is planned, followed by Sunday Lunch, Louise is heading home, and Lucy and I will have a leisurely afternoon.
Turning right, away from the promenade , it’s a bit of a hill start to the walk,passing Baron Hill Golf Course.
Much of this walk is along minor road, but there is a very boggy muddy patch To get through before we reach an easy stretch through the village of Llandegfan. Eventually reaching Cadnant Road, follow onto to St George’s Pier passing the Liverpool Arms on the left.
We pass Porth y Wrach (Witches Port) and wonder what the story is behind the name.
We eventually reach and cross the Menai Suspension Bridge, a Thomas Telford design opened in 1826. We head for the Antelope pub for a drink and to pick up the car. The pub has guitar lesson sessions on a Sunday, and a number of locals of differing age groups are arriving for the session.
We pick up the car and drive back to Beaumaris for a very pleasant afternoon. Sunday lunch at The Bull and shopping. I love places where there are more independent shops than large stores!
We did this section out of sequence as a result of the guidebook suggesting accessing the start of the 870 mile WPC from Chester starting at the Cathedral. We subsequently switched back to South Wales. We started the walk around 1pm, having picked Lucy and Kim up from the train station, we deposited our luggage in a lovely AirBnb property and off we set.
The weather forecast was for a cloudy day with rain coming in around 5 pm.
There was a time when the Welsh were forbidden to enter Chester before sunrise or stay out after nightfall – but no such curfew applies today.
We made our way out of Chester via the Town Hall, said to have only three faces to the town clock, as the citizens of Chester didn’t feel the need to have one facing Wales, as they couldn’t be bothered to spare the Welsh the time of day. I am glad to say we found the people of Chester charming and very welcoming.
We carried on via Northgate, past Pemberton Tower and the Water Tower, it was easy to see that Chester is one of the best preserved Walled cities in Britain.
On reaching the Welcome to Wales sign – the walk is pretty straightforward onto a long straight stretch of a cycle path, beside the river Dee
An hour into the walk we were soaked to the skin – the rain came early. We gave up at the Jubilee Bridge or Blue bridge at Queensferry – called a taxi to get us back to our townhouse, looking more like the female cast of “Last of the Summer wine” than the cosmopolitan women we perceive ourselves to
The guide book had specified the four towers of the gas powered Connah’s Quay power station as a key landmark for the walk. Today was the first time we had been able to sight it through the gloom and rain.
So, back to the Jubilee Bridge, a bascule bridge, sparkling blue in the sunshine. This stretch of WCP is mainly dominated by industry, so from bridge to bridge we go Jubilee, then Hawarden railway Bridge, built by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railways, originally as a swing bridge, but now welded solid!
The warmest temperature in Wales was recorded here 35.2 in August 1990. We could have done with a bit more warmth on a chilly February day!
The other bridge on the skyline is the Flintshire Bridge, the largest asymmetrical bridge in Britain, opened in 1998, and built at a cost of £55 million. A testament to the importance of the industrial Deeside and the impact on the Welsh economy.
The path continues past the Wepre riverside SSSI past the side of the Old Quay Pub. Much of the final leg of the walk is along the road, not very interesting, until we finally return to the marshes and come upon Fflint Castle, one of the first built by Edward 1 to control the Welsh. The design of this castle is very different from the rest of his domineering castle portfolio , in fact it is the only one of its kind in Britain.
The castle was burnt down by the custodian in 1294 to avoid it falling into the hands of Madog ap Llywelyn and his Welsh followers.
Lucy bursts into an extract from Henry IV as we approach the castle. Here Henry Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt captured Richard 11 in 1399. “Fake news” is not a new phenomena – Richard’s reputation has been given a bad rap over time. If you were king from the age of ten years you would also make a few mistakes along the way. There is a legend associated with Richard’s dog – who apparently was loyal to Richard and never strayed from his side, but when Henry came to Flint the dog left Richard’s side and lay down at Henry’s feet – I think I might have taken a bit of liberty with the legend but you get the gist.
An appalling national weather forecast doesn’t necessarily mean it will rain where you are in Wales.
We got up early to try and avoid the rain due to come in around 11am – in fact it rained at 1.30pm and we had completed our walk.
Starting at Flint castle, one of Edward 1 first strongholds in Wales, this is an easy walk along the River Dee.
It is had to believe that Flint Dock used to be a busy harbour built to carry lead from the mines in Halkyn mountain. In 1778 a ship taking grain from the area was taken over by local miners, as locally there was severe hardship and it seemed the right thing to do to combat the shortage of food, mainly bread.
The beacons along this stretch are nicely designed, with the dragon beacon at Bagillt being the most impressive.
Not a day to linger we set a brisk pace passing Bettisfield Colliery now a scrap yard, hard to believe that 500 men used to work here.
Onto Greenfield Dock which used to be a very busy link for the people of Liverpool, Wirral and surrounding areas who used to take the waters at nearby St Winifred’s Well, Holywell.
At Llanerch y Mor we come across the Duke of Lancaster, the ship not the person. Docked here as a Fun ship in the 1970s, it had previously been used as a ferry from Belfast to Haysham – it is by now rusting badly and looks rather sad.
Beyond the fun ship, we spotted hundreds if not thousands of oystercatchers nesting – one of the joys of winter walking is the easy sighting of various birds.
We took the easy option along the cycle track past the busy Mostyn Dock. In hindsight we should have taken the higher route through the woods, as this is a very busy road, we were glad to cross over into the village of Ffynongroyw (Clear Well). To access the well there is a path from the village via Well Lane. It also happens to be the birthplace of renowned Welsh harpist Ossian Ellis.
We ended our day fittingly, at the commemoration to the Point of Ayr Colliery, as this walk is a poignant reminder of Flint’s rich industrial heritage.